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Abercrombie gears up after Turkish delight

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/10/2016 Angelo Risso

Abercrombie will return to the more serene surroundings of the ANBL on Friday when his Breakers open their season against the much-fancied Melbourne United. © Chris Hyde/Getty Images Abercrombie will return to the more serene surroundings of the ANBL on Friday when his Breakers open their season against the much-fancied Melbourne United. Police escorts, spare battery-peltings and prolonged stadium bans due to crowd misbehaviour.

It's all in a day's work for a Turkish basketball player, according to Kiwi swingman Tom Abercrombie.

The Breakers star, 29, spent his ANBL off-season at Izmir-based club Karsiyaka Basket, making 11 appearances and scoring an average 10 points per game.

But it's not the on-court action that brings a smile to the 198cm Tall Black's face when he recalls his time on the Aegean.

In his first match for Karsiyaka, away at Usak Sportif, Abercrombie and his teammates fled the court as batteries and lighters rained down on them.

He was also forced to play his first three Turkish Super League games behind closed doors after Karsiyaka fans were banned for hooliganism.

Yet for his native teammates, it was all par for the course.

"Before I'd even got on the court I was getting stuff thrown at me, but that's just how it is over there," Abercrombie told NZN.

"The guys are smiling and laughing about it in the locker room, like it's just another day at the office."

Despite the overzealous fans, the Kiwi said he loved every moment of his time in Turkish basketball after previous stints in France and Spain.

The basketball was first-rate and life in Izmir was a delight.

"I've been lucky to play in a few countries now and it's just awesome getting to experience all those different cultures," Abercrombie said.

"That's what it's all about."

Abercrombie will return to the more serene surroundings of the ANBL on Friday when his Breakers open their season against the much-fancied Melbourne United.

United, still smarting from their semi-final defeat last season, have added ex-Breakers Cedric Jackson and Tai Wesley to an already talented line-up.

Abercrombie, who regularly trades messages with Wesley, said the pair would be closely monitored by his side's defence.

He was excited to put a luckless pre-season marred by injury behind him at tip-off time in Auckland.

The Breakers would need to hit the ground running in 2016/17 to stand out from a crowded ANBL pack and maximise their finals chances.

"We know their games pretty well but they're playing a different system now, which will change the way they play a little," Abercrombie said.

"Hopefully we can use that experience to slow them up."

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